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QCRG 2015 Playoff Preview

Cred

The Queen City Roller Girls 2015 playoffs kick off on Friday night at Riverworks with a double header. The Nickel City Knockouts will take on the Alley Kats in the first game, the Saucies and the Dollies in the second. The fun kicks off at 6pm. Before things kick off I wanted to get out a quick review and get some predictions down. 

Team Reviews and Playoff Predictions

Nickel City Knockouts (5-1) – With only two new skaters this year it was expected that the KO dynasty would continue. Brawl gonna Brawl. Outside of LiBrawlian’s other worldly/not human skills, other KO players have had solid years as well- namely Ivana who has progressed as a jammer/pivot hybrid. These two lead the league in +/-  with Brawl at (+514) and Ivana (+300). Their biggest scares this year, outside of their forfeited bout, were their bouts against the Saucies. They start playoffs against the Kats, but could end up facing the Saucies again in the Finals. The loss of coach Supernova and the length of the season seems to have knocked the KO’s off balance a bit and in games this year the KO’s have hit auto pilot many times only to see penalties build up and opposing teams get back into games. The clear favourites to win the Championship again this year, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they got upset. 

Saucies (4-2) – The Saucies drafted no new players this year and did a great job of internally developing skaters. Moving June Cleaveher to jammer and the emergence of Hot Damnsel has been great and allowed the Saucies to stack the deck by moving Bikini Whacks to split time between jamming and blocking. Bikiki, Gibby S’More, Huntress and Beatrix Boom make a very intimidating blocker line up and this team has the continuity and familiarity to block strategically and keep their blocking core tight. Injuries saw them give up more points this year than they would like, and for some reason they struggle matched up against the Alley Kats, but this team is still very well coached and a “team.” Their ability to close out bouts and play disciplined derby should always keep them competitive. Miss Fire is also still a powerhouse in this league and finishes with the second most jammer points behind only Brawl. The Saucies face the Dollies in the first round and although the Dollies have more depth in their jammer rotation, the Saucies experience, coaching and blocking should get them back to the final if they can stay healthy. 

Devil Dollies (3-3) – With the most amount of new skaters in the league, a new coach, and a new captain, the Dollies were a blank slate this year. Integrating everyone into this roster has been tough – especially when the Dollies have so many jammers in their rotation. However, the Dollies have closed the gap between themselves and the Saucies over the span of this year and could seriously threaten to get into the Finals. With the most amount of Furies on their roster, the team has the talent to pull together an upset. Blockers Chick, Celery and Heiny have also tightened the teams blocking core by playing more disciplined and positional derby and using more face up blocking and three walls. The Dollies give up size in their blocking core, but they are agile and if they can continue to raise their on track IQ and improve their communication they will find harmony between their jammers and blockers. One carry over from previous years is the mental block that seems to come in close games. The Dollies will need to kill that if they are going to pull off a close victory against the Saucies. Look to Vanilla Creamz – ultimate badass aka Imperator Furiosa – to lead the way.

Alley Kats (0-6) – The Kats gave fans two of the most exciting bouts this season with close loses to the Saucies. The underdogs stay the underdogs though with another winless season. Discipline, individual blocking and a thin jammer rotation make it hard for the Kats to stay competitive over the span of a full bout. They are developing skaters though – Karsmashian, NicNugget, Buenas Nalgas and more have all progressed this year. This fun to watch team will eventually get back into the win column, but it will take a miracle to do it in this years playoffs. Maybe as a consolation Sin can give us another unreal apex jump like the one below?

Credit: Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems)

Credit: Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems)

Predictions

Saucies v Dollies – 181 / 168

KO’s v Kats – 211 / 102

KO’s v Saucies – 178 / 145

*Superfans – send me your predictions! dylanjamespowell@gmail.com

Into the Future

I hope to see a return of the B travel team – another avenue for skaters to develop and also a middle place of commitment for skilled skaters who may need to take a year or two to focus on life.

The Queen’s Court skaters from this year look like a great bunch, and the Jr’s are cycling up their first ever skater with Veggy Cowgirl. I’d keep my eyes peeled for Mae, McCreadie and Rosie from Queen’s Court.

Next year a completed Riverworks will see a return of the fan base. The leaky roof, the birds, the cold – will all be a distant memory. Something hardcore fans will tell newbies about – how they have it so much better these days. (FYI: I will be giving these lectures from the mezzanine next year).

I would love to see the home league move to a double knockout format after the first six home bouts of the year. This keeps the schedule longer, but ensures that every single bout counts. Make it so!

Last but not least, I see the Lake Effect Furies beating Ohio at Riverworks next year. Book it.